New Theatre Oxford

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New Theatre Oxford
George Street,
OX1 2AG Oxford

Venue information

There has been a theatre on the corner of George Street for almost 170 years. The first theatre built in 1836 was known commonly as the ‘Vic’, and later as the ‘Theatre Royale’ after the company that played there. Forbidden to perform plays during the University terms, the lessee of the theatre resorted to presenting ‘concerts’ or music hall entertainment and by 1880 the theatre had become quite run down.

At the instigation of members of both town and gown a company was formed to raise money for a theatre to be used by University and town players as well as by professionals. In February 1886 the Oxford University Dramatic Society opened the second New Theatre with ‘Twelfth Night’. Designed by H.G.W. Drinkwater and with a 1000-seat capacity the second New Theatre was damaged by fire in 1892 and altered in 1908, when the seating capacity was increased to 1200.

In 1908 the Dorrill family took over the New Theatre and ran the venue for the next sixty-four years. In 1933 Stanley Dorrill determined to build ‘the most luxurious and comfortable house of entertainment in England’ and commissioned a new building from the well known theatre architects William and T.R. Milburn of Sunderland. The Milburns co-operated on the art-deco interior with T.P Bennett and Sons (who had designed the Saville Theatre in London). The Milburns extensive theatre oeuvre included the Sunderland Empire and London’s Dominion Theatre.

The third New Theatre opened in February 1934 and with a wonderful revolving stage (mechanism extant) and increased capacity of 2000 (1,710 seated) attracted all the great dramatic actors, popular and operatic singers and musicians, music-hall entertainers and matinee idols of the age to Oxford. The New’s renowned annual pantomimes (with Vera Legge’s famous Oxford Babes during the war years) became an Oxford family ritual.

This was the golden age lasting until the advent of television in the 1950’s when running large theatres became increasingly difficult.

In latter days musicals and play productions were supplemented by pop and rock concerts. In 1972 the Dorrills were bought out by the provincial theatre chain Howard and Wyndham, and in 1977 Apollo Leisure took over the lease of the theatre renaming it ‘The Apollo’. Apollo Leisure were bought out by SFX in 1999, followed by Clear Channel Entertainment in 2001. Following a refurbishment in 2003 the theatre reverted back to the name New Theatre, with Clear Channel Entertainment's theatre division becoming Live Nation two years later.

The theatre is now owned by The Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) who are the biggest theatre owners in the country, owning 40 theatres across the UK.

Audiences at the theatre can once again see leading opera and ballet companies, from Welsh National Opera to the English National Ballet, contemporary dance, hit musicals like Chicago and Guys and Dolls, and of course sell-out pop concerts. The venue’s current capacity is 1785 and the building is not listed.

Daniel O'donnell

New Theatre Oxford
23/04/17 / 19:30

In concert with special guest Mary Duff

Tickets available
Tickets from £43.25
Madeleine Peyroux

New Theatre Oxford
03/06/17 / 19:30

20 years after her recording debut, ‘Dreamland’, Madeleine Peyroux continues her musical journey of exploring beyo...

Tickets available
Tickets from £34.29
John Mayall

New Theatre Oxford
08/11/17 / 19:30

User Rating
Tickets available
Tickets from £31.50

New Theatre Oxford

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Address: New Theatre Oxford
George Street, OX1 2AG Oxford
Public transport

For customers arriving by train, the station is only a ten minute walk from the theatre.

Coaches and Mini-Buses George Street

There is no parking or dropping off in George Street at all without a permit. A permit will be needed for coaches/mini buses to enter Oxford City Centre and will be specific to that evening’s performance with set times. There is no parking permitted anywhere on George Street. To apply for a permit, you will need to call 0845 634 4466 (Parking Shop on Speedwell Street). Coaches without a permit cannot go any further than the bus lane junction at the end of Gloucester Street. Beaumont Street:

There are various restrictions on Beaumont Street. Coaches are allowed to drop off and pick up, but for no longer than five minutes in the loading bay or the coach stop just past the Randolph Hotel on the left hand side.

If the mini bus is less than a thirteen seats (including driver) then they are able to park in the pay and display until 6.30pm.

By road

Parking in central Oxford can sometimes be difficult so customers are advised to use the park & ride facilities when possible.

For more information on parking please visit the Oxford City Council website.

For information on the Park and Ride please visit


Parking in central Oxford can sometimes be difficult so customers are advised to use the park & ride facilities when possible.

For more information on parking please visit the Oxford City Council website.

For information on the Park and Ride please visit


There is level access to the box office and main foyer on George Street. Front doors to the foyer and Box Office areas can be operated automatically by a push button.

There are four wheelchair positions located at the rear of stalls with room for one companion to sit alongside. This area is accessed by our wheelchair lift, which Front of House staff will be available to assist where necessary, and would also be happy to purchase drinks and merchandise on your behalf.

Anyone that transfers from a wheelchair to a seat must be able to walk to the nearest fire exit unaided. Wheelchairs that are not needed during the show will be stored safely away by our Front of House staff.

The New Theatre is equipped with an infrared sound amplification system. To access the infrared system please request receiving equipment from the Box Office on the day of the show. The Box Office staff can provide you with a ‘pack’ which includes a sterilised headset, charged battery and a user guide for the system. We do ask that these be returned after the show to a member of Front of House staff.

Induction Loop Necklace

Suitable for persons wearing a hearing aid, the induction loop necklace is worn around the neck. Whilst wearing the necklace, switch your hearing aid to the 'T' setting and the sound is amplified. The necklace has an adjustable volume control.


This device amplifies sound through ear-pieces similar to regular headphones. Suitable for persons without a hearing aid.

We also provide a hearing loop system and run occasional signed and audio described performances. For a list of dates and shows please call our Access line on 01865 320770.

Guide, hearing and other working dogs are welcome in all parts of the theatre. If you wish to bring your guide or hearing dog to the theatre, please advise the Box Office when booking your tickets, we can then organise a member of staff to care for your dog during the performance and provide your dog with some drinking water.

Please note some shows include special effects, e.g. strobe lighting, smoke, pyrotechnics and loud bangs.

Accessible toilets are located in the main foyer and front right-hand stalls. There is an emergency call-point in all accessible toilets, should you need to call for a member of staff.